SONNY ROLLINS : Rene Thomas was a top player and good friend who has been vastly underrated by the jazz community. I'm glad I had a chance to know him and to play together. (Guitar genius booklet).


I know a Belgian guitar player that I like better than any of the Americans I've heard.

TOOTS THIELEMANS : (Guitar genius booklet)

Rene Thomas is a musician among those I will never forget. We did not play together, except sitting in sessions. He could create a spell : mixture of mastery and emotion. I still remember being under that spell one evening in Canada (in the late fifties). He unpacked his faithful Gibson, plugged into his old amp and played for half an hour Star Eyes and I'll Remember April. His playing remains a compulsory reference for guitarists and music lovers "at large". Merci Rene.

LARRY CORYELL : (Guitar genius booklet)

I absolutely adore Rene Thomas music. I knew him first as a man, a very nice and honest man, then recently, late at night listening to a college radio station, they played the entire record of Rene with Chet Baker ; I loved it - great sound, great lines, great feeling - what a National Treasure Rene is for the rather formidable Jazz scene that has generated from Belgium ... I appreciate so much that I could met him before he left us ... merci, Rene, J't'aime ... au revoir !

DANIEL HUMAIR : (Bobby Jaspar Quartet booklet)

One of my first real emotions playing with a jazz group was certainly with Bobby Jaspar and Rene Thomas. They both possessed an incredible jazz technique, sensitivity and knowledge of the music. I always felt that they were underestimated, surely because they were European.

SACHA DISTEL : (Guitar genius booklet)

Rene, my friend, my great friend, my friend "great". Life, music, guitar. Thank you for this fantastic concert. Hey, it must be great in heaven with Wes and Django !

PHILIP CATHERINE : (Guitar genius booklet)

What a personage ! Sometimes very very funny, with a corrosive humour. He knew how to make his guitar sing. He created some long phrases which flowed out in wave of successive themes that he transposed, that he triturated, always with mastery.

JACQUES PELZER : (Guitar genius booklet)

To Rene Thomas. An exceptionnal musician, with such a musicality, whom I've been so lucky to measure and share the grandeur during about 30 years. How many imperishable recollections ! Rene Thomas, my eternal friend.

STEPHANE GRAPELLI : (Guitar genius booklet)

I already knew him by his great artist fame. I've really enjoyed this concert. Rene Thomas was a pleasant person to live, with a wonderful sense of humour. He had an excellent reputation with all the musicians. I think he will remain in the Music History. His exceptionnal guitar style has indeed contributed to improve the technique of this instrument.

JOHN LEWIS : (Milanese Story sleeve, 1962)

Rene is a Belgian, one of the best guitar soloists I have ever heard, a virtuoso guitarist.

ZOOT SIMS : (1956)

I've not heard some revelation in Europe recently, except a guitarist, Rene ..., I don't remember his name ...

CHRISTIAN ESCOUDE : (Jazz Hot number 541, June 1997)

Rene Thomas was a poet of the guitar. He left his mark upon me. He was the synthesis of Django and Jimmy Raney's American School. It's fantastic. I've a bit associated with him and he was a personage. I was very influenced by his style when he heard me. It pleased him and he was proud of that. One day, I pointed it out to him and he answered me : You could choise worse !

JIMMY GOURLEY : (Jazz Hot nr 530, May 1996)

I keep a recollection of a man having an immense natural talent. In USA, he left his mark upon a lot of guitarists who often talk me about him. He's an important European musician who still influences many people.

JEAN-FRANCOIS PRINS : (Jazz Hot nr 530, May 1996)

It seems impossible to me to resume the importance of Rene on nothing but the Belgian scene. He's one of the rare guitarists who not only have made improved the guitar playing but the music "at large" (like Charlie Christian, Django, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall ...). It is not without good reason that Lee Konitz, Chet Baker and Sonny Rollins, among others, have toured and recorded with him.

PETER LEITCH : (private mail, 04/03/02)

The beautiful sound of Rene's guitar, the intense rhythmic drive of his playing, and his total mastery of the language of jazz are what first inspired me to learn this music. I first heard and met Rene in 1960 or '61 in Montreal, shortly before he returned to Europe. His music, as does all great art, transcended the instrument and the genre.

HENK HAVERHOEK : (private mail, 12/07/02)

Rene Thomas was a remarkable person. He stayed a few times at our house after a gig in Germany. I remember him eating three plates of spagetti. Sometimes he was accompanied by his son or his daughter. I remember very well the record date in 1974 of T.P.L. We were invited into his house in Liege the day before. First we went to an African restaurant, having cous-cous. Then we rehearsed, having no music at all. I was supposed to sleep in one small bed with drummer Han Bennink. Lucky enough he preferred to sleep on the floor.

ERIC INEKE : (private mail, 11/07/02)

I did some tours with Rene in 1972, 1973 and 1974. Most of the concerts where either trio or quartet. Trio with bassist Henk Haverhoek, Quartet with Henk and pianist Rein de Graaff. All the concerts I remember were very inspiring. Rene always played great from the first note on. A concert with the trio I specially remember was at the Zwolse Guitaardagen in Zwolle, I think it was 1973. Also the last concert we did in quartet in Theater Pepijn in The Hague. Rene and his dauhgter stayed over at my house and we played Scrabble. He was a wonderful and very warm and shy person, I will always remember him.

NOEL AKCHOTE : (private mail, 07/03/02)

Rene Thomas is, for me, an obviousness, a real passion. Then, every 5 years, it gets the better of me again and doesn't drop me ...

JOHN SCOFIELD : (private mail, 30/08/02)

I've always liked him a lot. I got Guitar Groove in about '70 and really learned a lot from it .After that I got Dynasty by Getz when it came out but the one I really loved was a Chet Baker album from the 50's with a french rhythm section ... excellent !! I never got to meet Rene or hear him play live but I wish I had ! His lines are so bebop, I've really learned a lot from him lately. He sounds like he used heavy strings ; I know he got a lot from Jimmy Raney (I've been listening to him too, another underated giant). I met Jacques Pelzer years ago in Liege, what a great guy ! And he spoke so admiringly about his old friend ! so again thanks for the great website !!



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